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Renovation of Doon’s Clock Tower begins, no word on rooting out ‘green trouble’

Dehradun Municipal Corporation is yet to take call on the fate of a fully grown peepal tree (ficus religiosa) whose roots are said to have weakened the foundation of the iconic structure over the years

dehradun Updated: Oct 16, 2017 20:46 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Clock Tower,Vinod Chamoli,Dehradun mayor
It is worth recalling that the DMC had invited bids from private players for carrying out the beautification of the heritage structure thrice over the past two years, but did not receive response. (HT PHOTO)

The work on renovating the Clock Tower located in the heart of the state capital has begun, but no call has been taken on the fate of a fully grown peepal tree (ficus religiosa) whose roots are said to have weakened the foundation of the iconic structure over the years.

Public sentiments and environmental lovers have been against removing the tree.

“The tree has affected Clock Tower’s foundation over the years…a final decision (on whether the tree will be treated or removed) will be taken after further study,” Dehradun mayor Vinod Chamoli told HT.

The renovation work of the Clock Tower has been launched by the BJP-led Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC).

The opposition Congress, meanwhile, alleged that the renovation had been announced hastily by the DMC with an eye on the local body polls due early next year. “Renovation work of the heritage structure has been lying in abeyance for almost a decade now…it is unfortunate that it (BJP-led DMC) has announced the renovation in a hurry now that civic polls are approaching, without even finalizing the entire details,” said Congress corporator Jagdish Dhiman.

It is worth recalling that the DMC had invited bids from private players for carrying out the beautification of the heritage structure thrice over the past two years, but did not receive response.

“I’ve asked experts to submit a report urgently on what can be done about the tree, after which other works will begin,” Chamoli said.

“A sum of around Rs 1.42 crore will be spent on giving a new avatar to the Clock Tower, of which Rs 66 lakh will be spent on the reinforcement of the foundation and Rs 76 lakh on beautification,” Chamoli said, adding that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had agreed to contribute Rs 76 lakh for the Clock Tower project.

The construction work of the Clock Tower had started in 1948 in the memory of an eminent citizen of Dehradun, Lala Balbir Singh. It was later inaugurated by the then railway minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, in 1953.

At least five detailed project reports were prepared over the past nine years for its renovation.

In February this year, the DMC has decided to delegate the project to Bridge, Ropeway, Tunnel and Other Infrastructure Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd (BRIDCUL), the main construction agency of the state government.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 20:45 IST